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Procedure for dealing with complaints against applicants

1. Principles

1.1. At Cardiff University we are committed to a policy of equality of opportunity and aim to provide a safe learning, working, and social environment that is free from discrimination and anti-social behaviour.

1.2. We aim to ensure that students, staff, visitors, and all others associated with the University are treated with dignity, respect, and equity, regardless of inappropriate distinctions such as age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy, maternity, race, religion, belief, sex and sexual orientation (as identified under the Equality Act 2010 as ‘protected characteristics’).

1.3. If an applicant displays behaviour(s) that are in contravention of the University’s Equality and Diversity or our Dignity at Work and Study policies (which all students and staff of the University are required to adhere to) we reserve the right to withdraw their admission/enrolment and to terminate any contract.

2. Definitions

2.1. A complaint is defined as an expression of dissatisfaction about the conduct of an applicant.

3. Who can use the Complaints Procedure?

3.1. This procedure is for anyone who has witnessed or experienced behaviour(s) by an applicant that is in contravention of the University’s Equality and Diversity or our Dignity at Work and Study policies.

3.2. The procedure applies to all applicants, whether submitting their application directly to the University, or via a third party such as UCAS.

3.3. Complaints which are submitted anonymously may be investigated, provided robust evidence has been supplied.

3.4. This procedure should only be used to raise a complaint within the same admissions cycle that complaint has arisen in and that the applicant has applied in.

i. Historical complaints will not be investigated under this procedure as it is relevant to current applicants only. Complaints against current students should be dealt with under the Student Complaints procedure. Staff and Alumni are also not subject to this procedure and would be dealt with under separate policies.

4. Procedure

4.1. Making a formal complaint

i. If you wish to make a complaint against an applicant, this should be submitted in writing to the following address:

For the attention of: The Head of University Admissions


Post: Cardiff University, McKenzie House, 30-36 Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 0DE

ii. A complaint should be submitted in writing within the same admissions cycle that complaint has arisen in. Your complaint should include all the following information:

  • Your name and email address;
  • Name and other personal details of the applicant which will allow us to correctly identify them;
  • The nature of the complaint, giving as much detail as possible;
  • Any steps that have already been taken to resolve the matter;
  • Any evidence to support your complaint, such as screenshots and/or links to social media posts, copies of emails, or other materials that may be deemed relevant.

iii. You will normally be informed within 5 working days that your complaint has been received and will be investigated. Due to GDPR restrictions, we are not permitted to keep you informed of the progress of the complaint, nor of the outcome of the complaint.

5. Admissions Review Panel

5.1. If the complaint is accepted, an investigation will take place, led by the Head of University Admissions or nominee, with input from the Governance and Assurance Team, or other parts of the University as appropriate.

i. For the complaint to be accepted, there must be sufficient and verifiable evidence to support the complaint.

ii. If, having investigated the matter, there is evidence the complaint was vexatious or malicious in intent, this will be recorded, and the applicant notified in writing.

5.2. The applicant will be notified in writing (normally by email) that a complaint has been made against them and that their case is being referred to an Admissions Review Panel, inviting them to the meeting (attendance is not compulsory) and to submit any further information.

5.3. The Panel will comprise of the following:

  • Pro Vice Chancellor (Student Experience & Academic Standards)- Chair*;
  • Member/s of the Academic School/s and/or College responsible for the programme of study;
  • Head of Admissions or nominee;
  • Member of Governance and Assurance;
  • Member of Race Equality Supervisory Group, where appropriate;
  • Member of Student Support and Welfare Services;
  • Member of Student Cases, where appropriate;
  • Head of University Residences (or nominee), where appropriate;
  • Placement coordinators and/or providers, where appropriate.

* Where the Pro Vice Chancellor (Student Experience & Academic Standards) is not able to attend, the Panel will be chaired by another senior member of the University nominated by the Pro Vice Chancellor in their absence.

5.4. The Panel will have the discretion to invite other members of the University to join the Panel in an advisory capacity, where appropriate.

5.5. The Panel may request additional external legal or specialist advice.

5.6. The Panel will be serviced by the Admissions Office.

5.7. Factors which the Panel may take into account include the following:

a) The nature of the complaint and any potential breaches of legislation (including the Equality Act 2010).

b) How long ago the incident(s) took place.

c) Any pattern of behaviour.

d) Any mitigating circumstances including whether the applicant’s circumstances have changed since the incident.

5.8. The possible outcomes of the meeting of the Panel include:

a) to confirm the offer stands as made to the applicant;

b) to confirm an amendment to an offer of a place to the applicant. This may include further conditions and/or adjustments to a programme of study (including the mandatory completion of Equality and Diversity or Unconscious Bias training);

c) to request further information/evidence from the applicant, the complainant, and/or appropriate services;

d) to confirm withdrawal of an offer or termination of the place including details of why this decision has been made.

Applicants will normally be informed in writing within 5 workings days of the Admissions Review Panel of the outcome of the meeting unless further information/advice is required. In the circumstance that further information/advice is required, the applicant will be notified and will, if possible, be given an indication of when an outcome may be issued.

5.9. The decision of the Panel is final. There is no right of appeal against the decision of the Panel except in the event that new advice or information is provided by a relevant party which was not available at the time of the decision.

6. Storage and Processing of Complaints Information

6.1. All complaints will be dealt with confidentially and with due regard for privacy. Information may be disclosed to members of the University who have a need to see it in order to investigate the complaint.

6.2. The information will be stored and processed in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations (2018). The record of the complaint and any supporting papers will be destroyed two calendar years following resolution of the case.

7. Contact Details

7.1. For further information about this policy please contact the Admissions Support Team:


Phone: +44 (0)29 20879999

Post: Admissions Support Team, Cardiff University, McKenzie House, 30-36 Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 0DE